“They love being out on the water,” said Shale Shore, president of the Kaua‘i Sailing Association Friday during graduation-day festivities taking place at the Nawiliwili Small Boat Harbor.
“They like doing the capsizing the best. The exercise gets them dunked, and they need to right-side the craft, and they’ll keep doing it,” she said.
Graduation day marked the end of a week-long camp for keiki with all levels of experience — from complete beginners to youth with advanced skill levels of sailing.
“Camp is led by our Junior Leaders,” Shore said. “Remember when we first started camp and we struggled to keep them in camp? Today, these are the same people as the crew aboard Weatherly, who was a winner in the latest Rum Series race. They’re very capable.”
Camp uses a series of land- and water-based activities — all done in compliance with the latest COVID-19 health and safety guidelines — to teach keiki the basic principles of sailing in a fun atmosphere. Graduation marks the success of the week-long learning when the keiki take the stick of the Topper sailboats for an afternoon of fun on the water.
“This is our fifth camp,” Shore said. “Over that period, we’ve worked with more than a hundred kids. Some of them are new, others are returnees from previous camps, and look at them — they’re all having fun.”
Camps are held during the state Department of Education school breaks during the summer, fall, spring and winter. This week’s camp happened once the pandemic restrictions started being relaxed.
Camp is open to youngsters ages 7 through 16, with the minimum requirement of being able to tread water for at least three minutes and swim 25 yards without the aid of a personal floation device. Scholarships are available.
“This is very dynamic,” Shore said. “We won’t be having Keiki Camp next week because we’re working with the advanced-level students. But we post registrations on www.kauaisailing.org on Fridays from 5:30 p.m. Or, for people who have questions, please text 346-6051.”
The Kaua‘i Sailing Association teaches life skills through marine awareness, and is known for developing life skills such as teamwork, leadership, self confidence, self-awareness and integrity.
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.